CELTIC's victory over Barcelona will lead to the whole of Scottish football gaining more respect in Spain, according to striker Miku.
The repercussions of the Group G result at Parkhead were sinking in yesterday as Celtic enjoyed international acclaim for Wednesday's win. The immediate rewards are all Celtic's: the unexpected three points gave them a real prospect of qualifying for the last 16 and still being in the Champions League in the new year.
They now face Benfica away before finishing their group campaign at home to Spartak Moscow. They will receive a further £800,000 in Uefa prize money for taking three points against Barcelona and another £2.8m will come the club's way if they make the knock-out stages.
But, according to Miku, Scottish football in general would be viewed in a new light after Celtic joined Real Madrid as the only clubs to defeat Barcelona this season. The Venezuelan knows the Spanish football scene having played for six clubs there over the past eight years, most recently Getafe from whom he joined Celtic on a season-long loan.
"People in Spain will respect Scottish football more after this result," said Miku, who played from the start in support of Georgios Samaras. "Barcelona are the best team in history and Celtic beat them in a Champions League game. Maybe now we will go into the next round, that would be important for Scottish football.
"It was fantastic, amazing. Neil Lennon, the manager, told us he wanted a good performance from the players. He said: 'I believe in you, you can win the game.' When I saw the faces of my team-mates afterwards I knew it was a good night. Two weeks ago in Camp Nou we did a great job but lost a goal in the last seconds of the game but we learned from that.
"When I left Spain to join Celtic, some people thought this was a backward step but I didn't. I have come to a different country and the first two months were very difficult for me but the manager's been a big help.
"He told me when I first came that I may have injuries because the football here is more physical but after my [first] injury I trained hard in the gym and now I feel much better. Last weekend, I scored my first goal against Dundee United and then played the whole game against Barcelona. I worked hard for this and now I need to rest and clear my mind in time for Sunday." Celtic's next game is at home to St Johnstone in the SPL.
The club felt Barcelona midfielder Alex Song should have been sent off for repeatedly fouling Miku. He was booked for one challenge but survived two more without further sanction from Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers.
"I was surprised Song was not sent off," said Miku. "I said to the referee: 'How many times will you let him foul me before you show him a second yellow card?' But I don't think he wanted to do it, even though those fouls deserved a yellow card.
He could have sent off Javier Mascherano, as well, but it's difficult for the referee because Barcelona are the best team in history and he doesn't want to ruin the game. However, we won, so it's not important."